A COMMUNITY orchard received an award from an MSP this month.

Dunkeld and Birnam Community Orchard’s working group received the 2018 Wee Apple Award from MSP Murdo Fraser, as part of the 11th Holyrood Apple Day.

The orchard has just celebrated its 10th anniversary at its annual Big Apple Day in September and has mounted an exhibition of photos at Birnam Arts for the month to mark the milestone.

It also happens that the founder of the national event, John Hancox, was among the founding members of the local orchard as well.

Katherine Melville, speaking on behalf of the group, said: “This is a big orchard with 180 trees, so it’s a big responsibility looking after it.

“We love working and relaxing here, but it is nice to know that our efforts are appreciated.

“Everyone is welcome to pick the fruit free down here, but at the moment we are harvesting every Friday and putting apples in the boxes by the fence for passers by to help themselves.”

MSP Fraser added: “It was great to visit the orchard and learn more about what the volunteers do whilst presenting them with the Wee Apple Award.

“Experts have warned that nearly 90 per cent of our orchards have been lost since the 1850s which makes the continued survival and growth of the Dunkeld and Birnam Community Orchard so important.

“I have been a longstanding supporter of Holyrood apple day which started in 2008 and believe it’s important that MSPs promote fresh Scottish produce.

“The Dunkeld and Birnam Community orchard is now 10 years old and I hope its next decade is just as fruitful.”